Philippines' Most Bike-Friendly City Shows Us How It's Done

Iloilo City continues to prove why it's the "Wakanda of the Philippines."

(SPOT.ph) Even before COVID-19, public transportation in the Metro has been a huge nightmare, from the unorganized bus scheme along EDSA to the always-packed train lines. Things turned for the worse when the pandemic hit the Philippines as the community quarantine limits the operations of these transportations. And amid all these, riding bicycles has become the norm. Iloilo City in Western Visayas amps up their already efficient bike lane system by designating and painting lines dedicated to bikers. No wonder the city is often dubbed as the "Wakanda of the Philippines."

Ongoing painting of bike lanes in Iloilo City
PHOTO BY Facebook/Iloilo City Engineer's Office
Bike lane along General Luna Street
PHOTO BY Facebook/Iloilo City Engineer's Office
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In 2018, Iloilo City was awarded the most bike-friendly city in the Phil-Bike Awards. It boasts a 25-kilometer bicycle lane network along Sen. Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. Avenue (formerly Iloilo Diversion Road) and President Cory C. Aquino Avenue. The four-kilometer protected bike lane on Aquino Avenue was designed by renowned landscape architect Paulo Alcazaren who said that Iloilo City is home to "the longest dedicated and traffic segregated bike lane in the country along a major thoroughfare." In June, Mayor Jerry Treñas announced that they're eyeing an additional 32.86 kilometers of bike lanes.

While there are portions of the city where bicycles are not allowed, former Mayor Jose S. Espinosa III said in 2019 that these ordinances passed in the '80s are up for repeal by the city council. Buildings are also required to install bicycle racks in an effort to encourage people to use bikes in going from point A to point B. Iloilo City has also been holding bicycle festivals at the 72-hectare Iloilo Business Park since 2014.

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Brightly colored bike racks at Iloilo River Esplanade
PHOTO BY Facebook/Iloilo City Engineer's Office
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PHOTO BY Facebook/Iloilo City Engineer's Office

In the last few months, Iloilo City's Engineer's Office has been facilitating the painting of bike lanes along General Luna Street and the installation of bike racks at Esplanade 8 in Barangay Arsenal-Aduana, Esplanade 1 in Barangay Mandurriao, and other portions of the 1.2-kilometer Iloilo River Esplanade.

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